Shaping, teaching a new behavior by breaking it down in small increments, is an essential tool for teaching complex (and often useful) behaviors. In this video, KPA CTP Megan Ramirez uses shaping to teach her dog Rim Shot to flip a light switch—in just a three-minute training session!
Have you ever wanted to reward your dog for a job well done, but didn’t have food treats with you? Consider playing with your dog to reinforce good behavior! Using play as a reinforcer adds variety to your training routine and helps strengthen your relationship. The key is to find a toy or interactive game (tug, retrieve, chase) that your dog enjoys.
When training at a distance, there are many different objects that can be used to help your dog to stay in place, such as a mat or raised platform. These training aids give your dog a definitive place to be. However, sometimes you may find the need to train your dog from a distance without the use of a platform or mat to anchor him. This was the case for Ken Ramirez when working with his dog Marlin on The Ranch.
What if your dog could bring you his/her bowl—or even a beer? Training a dog to retrieve everyday items is not only helpful, but it is also a great way to keep your dog active mentally and physically.
When you think of training new behaviors, you think of training one behavior at a time. For example, in one training session you may teach your dog to jump on a platform and in another you may teach your dog to jump off. However, did you know that you can train these opposite behaviors rapidly if you train them together?
Looking for a fun activity to do with your dog this summer? Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) can provide an awesome outdoor adventure for both you and your pup. In this video, KPA faculty member Terrie Hayward demonstrates the steps to train your dog to paddle board with you.
Understanding reinforcement is the key to understanding how dogs learn. Reinforcement can be categorized as either primary or secondary. A primary reinforcer is a reinforcer that an animal needs to survive, such as food, water, or shelter. When you give your dog a treat for sitting on cue, you are using a primary reinforcer. However, when reinforced regularly, the “sit” behavior itself can become a secondary reinforcer.
Are you always tripping over dog toys? Did you know that, according to the CDC, tripping over dog toys caused almost 10% of pet-related fall injuries? Fortunately, you can avoid becoming a statistic by teaching your dog to put away his toys in the toy box!
The effective use of non-food reinforcers is a critical skill that all trainers will likely use or need at some point in their training career. In this video, Ken Ramirez and his dog Marlin demonstrate the use of clapping as a conditioned reinforcer. Ken begins by teaching Marlin that clapping is associated with yummy food. Once Marlin associates clapping with reinforcement, Ken begins cueing behaviors and then clapping.
If your dog is fluent in more than one behavior, those individual behaviors can be linked together by learned cues to form a sequence! This allows us to teach dogs more complex tasks, such as go to his mat and lie down, without pausing to reward him at every transition. It is also helpful in dog sports which requires a dog to perform a series of behaviors without stopping.
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